2013 BCS Champ.
Alabama vs. N.D. - Special Teams
CFN 2013 BCS CHAMPIONSHIP POSITION BREAKDOWN
Defensive Lines |
Special Teams |
Alabama: The Tide came into the season looking to go with the hot foot between
Cade Foster and Jeremy Shelley, and after Foster missed four field goals early on, and went 4-for-9 on the season, Shelley became the main man nailing all 11 field goal attempts and going 63-for-63 on extra points. Foster has the bigger leg and more talent, but the coaching staff turned to Shelley in the BCS championship last year and he came up big hitting 5-of-7 field goals. Even so, Foster will be used on bombs.
The punting game is rock-solid with junior Cody Mandell
averaging 43.8 yards per kick. One of the key unsung factors in the win over LSU and doing a nice job in the SEC championship, he’s a big game punter who can tip the field. After being used mostly as a directional weapon last season, he was able to turn it loose this year.
The return games are tremendous. Cyrus Jones averaged 25 yards per kickoff return, but it was
Christion Jones who became the star with a return for a score against Ole Miss while also emerging as a dangerous punt returner averaging 8.48 yards per try.
The coverage teams are nothing special. Allowing close to 22 yards per kickoff return and 7.67 yards per punt return.
Notre Dame: Nick Tausch was supposed to be the main man, but he suffered a groin injury early on this year and Kyle Brindza took over. A star kicking recruit with the ability to be used as a punter, there was a big question about whether or not he could be consistent enough to handle the work. All he did was hit 23-of-31 kicks, but he missed kicks in several key games. With great range, he’ll be used from deep without hesitation.
Senior Ben Turk has been better overall thanks to help from the coverage team. Accurate and experienced, he doesn’t put it in the end zone and does a nice job of pinning teams deep while averaging 40.6 yards per kick. There’s a chance he could be the unsung star of the game if he’s able to keep Bama in bad field position.
Running back George Atkinson III turned into one of the nation’s best kickoff returners last year, averaging 26.1 yards per try taking two back for scores with one against Michigan State and one against USC. However, he hasn’t been able to break free this year and has been fine, not special, averaging 20.7 yards per kick. He’s way, way overdue to come up with a game-changing return.
True freshman Davonte Neal has emerged as the main punt returner, but he’s averaging just 2.4 yards per try and has yet to bust one loose.
The punt coverage team is fine, allowing just 7.3 yards per return, and the kickoff coverage has been average giving up 22.44 yards per attempt.
ADVANTAGE: Alabama, big. The Notre Dame special teams haven’t been a liability, but they haven’t been a plus in any way, either. Alabama has proven kickers, a stronger punting game, and far better return ability.